What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
Our licensed Naturopathic Doctor (also called a naturopath, naturopathic physician, or ND), uses the most non-toxic, least invasive, natural medicine to help you heal. Our naturopath is a primary care provider.
As a naturopathic doctor, I believe in:
- Helping your body to heal the way that it was meant to.
- Identifying and treating the root cause of your health problem. I don’t just mask your symptoms. Treating the cause provides a more permanent solution.
- Considering all of the mental, emotional or physical factors that affect your health.
- Treating you as a whole, unique individual. You are not just a symptom, diagnosis or a disease.
- Teaching you about the cause of your illness. This empowers you to take control of your own health.
Are Naturopathic Doctors Real Doctors?
In Ontario, the title Doctor (Dr.) is protected through government regulations. Only very specific professions can call themselves doctors. Because of our qualifications, Naturopathic doctors in Ontario have the right to call ourselves doctors. Dentists, medical doctors, and chiropractors can also use the Dr. title.
NDs are real doctors in the sense that we:
- perform a physical exam
- order laboratory tests
- take a thorough medical history
- analyze your symptoms and convey to you a diagnosis
- treat or help treat any medical condition
- are registered to practice medicine through the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO)
- are required to maintain high standards of practice
- complete regular continuing education
- undergo a regular assessment to maintain our registration under the RHPA
Are naturopathic doctors dangerous?
Naturopathic doctors are a regulated health profession in Ontario. The Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) is a law that regulates the practice of naturopathic medicine. These same regulations apply to doctors and nurses. Regulations in Ontario ensure that we meet the same standards of conduct, continuing education, professionalism, ethics and patient safety as all other health professionals.
This is not the case everywhere in Canada or the US. Only certain states and provinces regulate naturopathic doctors.
Here in Ontario, natural treatments are safe and effective. They are unlikely to cause anything other than very mild and/or temporary side effects. Our naturopathic doctors will never advise you to ignore your medical doctor’s advice.
What is the training like for a naturopathic doctor?
In order to become a naturopathic doctor, candidates must complete a university degree. That degree must include specific courses including biology, chemistry, and psychology. After finishing the undergraduate degree, one applies to an accredited naturopathic college. There are currently only 2 in Canada, CCNM and Boucher. Our naturopathic doctors are graduates of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. After completing a four-year program in naturopathic medicine, passing all courses and exams, a graduate must then complete licensing or registration exams.
Our regulatory body, the College of Naturopaths in Ontario (CONO), requires us to meet professional standards, complete annual continuing education and professional development.
How much does it cost to see a naturopathic doctor and how many visits do I need?
The answer to these questions is here on our FAQ page.
How to Find a Good Naturopathic Doctor
We would like to think that if you are on our website, you already have! Naturopathic doctors have different styles of practice. Because there are a number of natural treatment approaches, finding a good naturopathic doctor that fits your personal preferences needs some research.
Asking family or friends for a recommendation is a good start.
Online reviews for naturopathic doctors are one way to find a good naturopathic doctor, but sometimes not. Sometimes online reviews are fake. Sometimes negative reviews are a vindictive attempt by a competitor to tarnish the ND’s reputation. Take online reviews with a grain of salt.
Online forums or Facebook groups related to your particular health concerns are sometimes a reasonable way to find a good naturopath too.
What is the Experience Like When Seeing a Naturopathic Doctor?
That depends on the naturopathic doctor. But, here is what the patient experience is like with Dr. Frank at Forces of Nature. On scheduling your first visit we will reach out to you to confirm your appointment date and time. We will provide you with access to online forms for you to fill in before your first visit.
When you arrive in our warm and friendly waiting room, we greet you and confirm that your forms are filled in. If you haven’t had a chance to do so, we will provide you with paper forms to fill in.
Dr. Frank will greet you in the waiting area and escort you to her treatment room. There, you privately and confidentially discuss your current health concerns. We’ll discuss your past medical history, any medications, and current supplements in detail. Next, there is a brief, non-invasive physical exam. This includes listening to your heart and lungs, checking your blood pressure and heart rate. You are fully clothed throughout this physical exam. There is no internal exam or PAP test.
After that, Dr. Frank will print some handouts for you that provide education about what is going on in your body. Together you’ll craft a treatment plan that is doable, practical, and makes sense. We welcome your questions and input.
Why do people see naturopathic doctors?
The most common reasons that people see our naturopathic doctors is that they:
- want a more comprehensive assessment of their problem
- want a more natural treatment approach that addresses the root cause of their problem
- don’t want to just suppress their symptoms
- are often frustrated that they are not getting better with conventional treatment
- feel that their concerns are not being taken seriously enough
- feel that there is a problem with their health but it is being ignored
- have abnormal blood work that they would like to work on
- have been told that their tests are “normal”, but they don’t feel normal
- don’t want to take medications. Or, their medications aren’t working. Or their medications come with too many side effects
- want a more holistic, natural approach
- are looking for alternative or complementary medicine
Would a naturopathic doctor help me lose weight?
Because our naturopathic doctors are experts in diet and nutrition, we help people lose weight. We optimize the function of your organ systems like your thyroid to improve your metabolism. We ensure optimal vitamin and mineral status for healthy weight loss.
What is Naturopathic Medicine (also called Naturopathy)?
Naturopathic Medicine is a holistic system of natural treatment. It includes the use of Acupuncture, Clinical Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Hydrotherapy, Lifestyle Counseling, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. At our naturopathic clinic, we also provide an on-site supplement store. We also offer a full range of lab testing, both conventional blood tests, and preventive medicine testing. We access tests that are not available through your family doctor to dig even deeper into your health concerns.
By Dr. Pamela Frank, Naturopathic Doctor, updated Feb. 27, 2022